The Nets have shown two different faces in their two first preseason games. Against the Pistons, Kenny Atkinson’s motion offense worked like clockwork, allowing the Nets to shoot 41.2% from the three-point line while recording 21 assists and scoring 29 points off turnovers. Two days later, the Knicks held them down to 38.7% from the field and 13 assists.
One of the main reasons for such a downturn lies in the fact Jeremy Lin was rested against the Knicks. Lin and Luis Scola will return to the Nets’ rotation against Miami, with Caris LeVert remaining the only injury worry. Bojan Bogdanovic and Isaiah Whitehead received their first minutes on Saturday, and they should feature in the Tuesday’s game.
It remains to be seen whether Brook Lopez will play a bigger part in Atkinson’s uptempo offense. The former All-Star center seems to have added an outside shot into his repertoire, but it’s also true that he’s built his entire career on his excellent post-up game. If the Nets continue focusing on ball movement all the time, Lopez might not be a perfect fit. What’s more likely, however, is that Atkinson simply knows what Lopez can give him. The Nets’ gameplan for the season opener will probably be a mix of motion offense and Brook-Lin pick-and-roll.
The Heat are 1-1 so far this preseason. They have no major absences save Chris Bosh, who is unlikely to suit up for them again. Tyler Johnson – one of the Nets’ free agent targets this summer – has had a quiet start to his season, averaging 6 points in 19 minutes of play. The same cannot be said of Hassan Whiteside, who has been the Heat’s leading scorer and rebounder. Against the Wizards and the Timberwolves, Whiteside averaged 18.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 3 blocks per game.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Miami Heat 10-11-16 Game Recap
The Nets’ third preseason game against the Miami Heat was a tale of two halves. In the first one, Atkinson’s motion offense looked fast and crisp, powering the Nets to a halftime lead. The second one saw them go cold from the field, ultimately falling to the revamped Heat. Despite the final result, the visitors put on a solid showing while experimenting with different lineups.
Things did not start well for Brooklyn. Hassan Whiteside was intent on capitalizing on the fact that the Nets were resting Brook Lopez, scoring 11 points and grabbing 5 rebounds in 9 minutes of play. The Nets managed to claw back from an early 12-point deficit by converting 6 threes at an excellent 47% clip. Bojan Bogdanovic led the comeback off the bench, scoring 8 points in 6 minutes.
The Nets’ 20-4 run spilled over into the second quarter, forcing Erik Spoelstra to call a timeout. However, the Nets continued to rain threes at a great rate, finishing the first half with 10-of-22 behind the arc. The Heat were struggling on the offensive end, but managed to make a 7-0 run to end the second period. After the first 24 minutes, the Nets held a 59-55 lead.
Miami made another 8-0 run to start the half, setting the tone for the remainder of the game. The Nets’ offense fell apart in a spectacular fashion, and the team scored a mere 17 points for the quarter. After the Heat went on a hot streak from downtown to bring the lead to 17, the game was all but over. The final score read Heat 121, Nets 100.
Jeremy Lin led the Nets again, scoring 16 points and distributing 5 assists. It’s an admittedly small sample, but Lin is averaging 17.5 points in 20 minutes of play so far. Even more impressively, he’s doing it without relying on his pick-and-roll prowess. He has been the heart and soul of this team so far, as well as its best scorer.
Bogdanovic was the Nets’ second best scorer, with 13 points on 3-of-4 from behind the arc. Luis Scola and Justin Hamilton had 12 each, with the former also managing 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Anthony Bennett, Sean Kilpatrick and Joe Harris were all in double figures as well. Whiteside was the main man for the Heat, powering his way to 21 points and 14 rebounds. Goran Dragic also had a double-double with 17 points and 11 assists.
Though the Nets were solid from the outside, they shot just 39% from the field. Combined with Miami’s dominance on the boards (55 rebounds), the Nets just didn’t have enough firepower to grab a win. The hosts also had 56 points in the paint compared to the Nets’ 32, having established an inside presence from the early game.
With Randy Foye and Lopez getting some rest, Joe Harris and Hamilton made the starting lineup. This was Harris’ third game in a row with double figures, by the way. He’s certainly made a strong case for cracking the starting lineup at the start of the season.
On Thursday, the Nets will play host to the Boston Celtics in their fourth preseason outing.
Your feedback below my article would help improve the quality of future articles.